Posts Tagged: The Economy

How Amazon Solved the Problem of Work

On Wednesday, October 8th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk. The case pits warehouse workers Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro against their former employer. The issue at hand is time: Should minutes spent waiting to be screened at the end of the workday—Integrity manages warehouses that fulfill online shopping orders—be counted as work? If so, then shouldn't workers be paid?

Supreme Court cases that feel ethically simple are often legally complicated; similarly, cases that make it that far and yet appear legally tidy are often ethically difficult. This case seems to fall into the former category: you have decades [...]


Poor Hank Paulson: Things Are Actually Worse Now Than Five Years Ago!

Five years ago, the economy nearly collapsed — and no one felt the impact more than Hank Paulson |

— Businessweek (@BW) September 12, 2013

Bloomberg Businessweek goes huge today, observing, give or take, a peg for the five-year anniversary of the "financial crisis." Oh mercy. What a tweet that is. Here is when we make a hero of Hank Paulson, the man who ping-ponged from the Pentagon to the Nixon White House to Goldman Sachs to the oversee the actual death of business as we knew it, with a in his own words biography. Which is fascinating, to be sure! It avoids the trouble [...]


Maybe If We All Become Dog Psychiatrists The Economy Will Finally Turn The Corner

"Dog counseling has been in demand in Hawaii County since early last year, when county commissioners passed an ordinance banning "barks, bays, cries, howls" that go on continuously for 10 minutes, or intermittently for 20 minutes within a half-hour. Police can write barking tickets or sentence an incessant howler to a humane shelter…. Dogs probably aren't yowling more than before. Instead, officials in places like Hawaii County speculate that barking complaints have risen in part because more people are home to hear the yapping after losing their jobs."


The Financial Crisis: Are You Angry Or Apathetic?

"During the decade-long real estate bubble preceding the global financial crisis, a bubble that itself strikingly resembled Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the world’s largest financial institutions earned several hundred billion dollars in fake profits. Some of them made billions by using derivatives to bet against the very investments they sold to their customers as safe. A large percentage of these profits were then personally appropriated by the top 1 per cent in the financial sector. Yet despite substantial evidence of large-scale fraud, nobody has gone to jail, nobody’s compensation has been clawed back, and only a few firms have paid even trivial fines." —It's funny how you can see something [...]


Fewer People Dying At, Going To, Work

The bright side of unemployment: "According to new data unveiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last week, there were 4,430 workplace fatalities last year compared with 5,214 in 2008. While firms in America's most dangerous industries would love to toast a triumph of workplace safety in the 21st century, there's no escaping the fact that fewer jobs, in general, existed last year."


Consensus: U.S. Economy "Losing Steam"!

I was correct! The Times Economix blog, the AP, Reuters, CNBC and the Telegraph have all agreed in the last hour the that U.S. economy is losing steam! Noooo! Our steam! Without the steam, we are lost! I don't have any steam left to give either. What about our giant steam engines? That once made all our precious steam? Sad day…. for steam and its enthusiasts. (No but seriously we're maybe as screwed as I've always said we would be, which is weird and unlikely!)


The 'Wall Street Journal': Now Worth 38 Cents

In 2002, the Wall Street Journal was $189 a month. (That's because you got it at your desk and your company paid for it.) It's never been that expensive on the newsstand, at least-though they raised their newsstand price from $1 to $1.50 in July, 2007. It charges $2 a week-or $1, for subscribers-to read the paper on mobile devices. Or, in this new wonderful era, you could get all six issues delivered each week, for $9.99 a month. For, you know, basically 38 cents an issue.


Nothing Will Ever Be Good Again

For more than a century, the pace of growth was reliably resilient, bouncing back after recessions like a car returning to its cruising speed after a roadblock. Even after the prolonged Great Depression of the 1930s, growth eventually returned to an average pace of more than 3 percent a year. But Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said on Wednesday that the government now expected annual growth to average just 2.1 percent, about two-thirds of the previous pace.

Perhaps, after you have imported your dreams directly into an Oculus Rift, you could grant Facebook the rights to them in perpetuity in exchange for a single [...]


Is More Drug Use A Sign That The Economy Is Improving?

"Job applicants are testing positively for drugs at rates not seen since 2007."


Will We Learn The Lessons Of The Current Crash?

I would like to think that if we make it through the persistent financial troubles of our age and eventually return to some semblance of economic prosperity, the inevitable crash that follows on a few years after will be met with the knowledge that austerity is not a solution to recession, because we have run that experiment this time around it is impossible to argue otherwise, but I know that it's not gonna be the case. Because we're not gonna make it through the persistent financial troubles of our age. It's all downhill from here, folks! Watch out for those fires.


Person Extremely Irritated by Free Internet Service's Downtime

Today a person was totally annoyed by some minor downtime on a free Internet service, and immediately took to another free Internet service to complain about it. "Ugh, OMG, I'm so annoyed, this stupid thing suuuucks!!!!" the person typed to all their online friends and acquaintances.

The free service had reported 99.7% uptime in the last quarter, spending $91,000 a month on more than 100 servers, with two engineers on payroll to deal with uptime and service issues.


In Fear Of Fear

As jobless claims continue to spiral, and desperate Americans start ransacking their retirement accounts for sustenance, the US economy looks like it's developed much the same allergy to productive labor that's long afflicted the Kardashian clan. And now comes Washington Post business writer Neil Irwin to observe that employers aren't adding jobs-even with corporate profits increasing-for a simple reason: They aren't convinced that a broader recovery is going to take. As Irwin explains, it comes down largely to sluggish demand: CEOs believe "U.S. consumers are destined to disappoint for many years. As a result, they say, the economy is unlikely to see the kind of almost [...]


MTV Opening On-Screen Employment Agency For People Who Aren't On "The Real World"

Next week, MTV will debut the new reality show MTV Hired, which is sort of like Made with résumé counseling; young people will be given the chance to go for the job of their dreams, and taught dos and don'ts of job-hunting involving things like folding your résumé so it fits in your jacket pocket (don't!) and knowing the nuts and bolts of the companies being applied to (do!). The candidates get interviewed and talked about behind their backs and eventually one person "wins" the job, while the others are forced back into the world of checking Craigslist and watching MTV all day. Since the term "dream job" [...]


Sarah Palin Names Real Villain In Global Economic Slump

Sarah Palin is in Hong Kong, addressing the CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets global investment managers' forum. What did she have to say? "We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place. We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom." That's right! That's what caused the worldwide financial crisis: TOO MUCH REGULATION! And then there was this.


What Was Money?

What was money?

A medium of exchange; a system by which tokens were assigned value by a central authority for use within a regulated system of commerce.

What was money for?

Acquiring things that you needed to live or believed you needed to be happy.

What happened to money?

"Uber Technologies Inc. is seeking to join the $10 billion-plus club. The San Francisco-based startup, which makes a mobile application for car-service booking, is in talks to raise new financing in a round that may value it at more than $10 billion, according to people with knowledge of the situation. That would almost triple the company’s [...]


Media Panic! The Economy's Spring Surprise! (As Explained Weeks Ago)

"Fears Rise That Economy May Falter in the Spring"; "Economic Reports Fan Fears": Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are going real big today on the surprising news that the economy might not be "good" over the next few months. Oh noes! What did we know and when did we know it!?

Well, on April 11th, Goldman Sachs published a U.S. Daily report headlined "A Road Map for Sluggish Q2 Growth," which said pretty much the same thing, well in advance of the job numbers released yesterday: "After months of stronger-than-expected data, the US economy has started to lose momentum." They also cite [...]


Today's Groupon: Helping People with HIV for Half Off

Today's New York City Groupon offering is a 50% discount at Housing Works' nonprofit thrift stores, which raise money to assist people living with HIV. For $20, you can receive $40 worth of things! Oh, just FYI: "A pair of designer shoes that sells for $40 in one of our stores provides ten days worth of hot meals for a homeless HIV+ mother and her child." Enjoy your discount. :(


The Global Casino

A long time ago I was involved in an attempt to finance the buyout of a card club in LA. It was quite a profitable business, doing about $100 million a year in revenues, on which it cleared close to $30 million after cash expenses. They made their money by charging people to sit at a table and play poker, taking a little piece of each hand. That way they could get away with not being a gambling establishment, which would have been illegal in Los Angeles, because they weren't actually a participant in the game; they were just a venue where people happened to sit down and play [...]


The Economy: Why It Sucks

The economy is terrible right now. Almost everybody seems to agree. The business community, as represented by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and most Republicans, has some ideas as to how to fix it: cut taxes; reduce the deficit (!); rein in Big Government spending (except defense); stop over-regulating business so they can get on with business. The Democrats have their own idea: more stimulus, in the form of, for example, extending unemployment benefits. Who's right? If anybody?


The Secret To Economic Recovery: A Corporate Sponsor?

"This recovery is going to look like the Nike swoosh." -Timken Company CEO Jim Griffith, who pontificated about his "hopeful but cautious" outlook for the American economy to Reuters. Griffith, whose company manufactures bearings and alloy steels and other associated items, was referring to the "gentle curve" presented by the omnipresent logo. But really, why not take this idea further and have Nike (current market cap: somewhere in the $37 billion range) lead the way in recovery-related investments — and then brand the effort with their trademark swoosh? It would make for some great brand association, not to mention that it would boost consumer confidence like nobody's [...]